Dulwich Hill. So close to Newtown yet so different. Very suburban, family-oriented, quiet, and yes, boring to my taste. The few shops you can find around the train station close early (except for a dodgy kebab place). There was a cafe a few metres away from the station that closed a while ago (can’t remember the name but it had the word “organic” somewhere in the sign) and a new cafe opened in its place. I didn’t think it would last long, but apparently it has.
My sister and I went for dinner last night to Cafe Dal’or. We arrived at 6:30 and were the only customers. The menu is brief, which made our choices easier to make. We were drawn towards the same menu items, so we ordered both to share. The only issue was that one dish had salmon and the other lamb, which made choosing an all-purpose wine impossible. Gladys went to the nearby bottle shop to get a light fruity Merlot, which I hoped would work.
When she left I was offered (again, we had already been asked when ordering the dishes) herbed or garlic bread while I waited. Again I said no. Gladys arrived with the bottle and soon after a female singer and a guitarist arrived and got ready for their show. They started playing with only us in the restaurant, which seemed a bit odd. Later, a girl who clearly knew them arrived and sat in the table next to us.
Both dishes arrived together after a not so long wait. The char-grilled lamb cutlets come with mash and veggies or chips and salad, but we asked to skip the mash and bring only veggies. The sauces to choose from were peppercorn, mushroom and gravy, which we chose. This dish was amazing. The lamb was flavourful and well cooked, the usual side of green beans and carrots was uplifted by the presence of baby bok choy and broccolini. The wine paired well with this dish.
Char-grilled lamb cutlets with vegetables and gravy ($22.00)
The crispy skin salmon steak with white bean and grilled artichoke salad and wild mushroom sauce was good but not great. The skin was indeed crispy but the salmon was overcooked. The white bean and grilled artichoke salad was really small and the fish sat atop a chunk of mash, which wasn’t on the menu. Not only that, but having asked for no mash in the other dish it would have been good to ask if we wanted to skip the mash in this one too, right? As expected, the wine didn’t work that well with this dish but that didn’t matter, there wasn’t much wine left at this stage after all.
Crispy skin salmon steak with a white bean and grilled artichoke salad and wild mushroom sauce ($21.50)
We blame this on the portion sizes, the cold weather and the fact that the door stayed opened during half of our stay: we weren’t full. Option A was going to my sister’s apartment for a post-dinner snack, option B was ordering another dish. For the sake of food blogging I suggested going route B. The Jamaican jerk chicken wings with salad and minted yoghurt got our attention.
Sadly, our expectations were not met. The wings were not very tasty, which may have been improved if the skin was crispy, but it wasn’t. The salad of mixed leaves, cucumber, onion, tomato and sprouts was not very exciting.
Jamaican jerk chicken wings with salad and minted yoghurt ($13.50)
Overall food was good, but I’m not sure I’d like to come again for dinner. I’ve heard from a trusted source that breakfast is good and generous, and coffee is well made.
237 Wardell Road
Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
(02) 8094 8802